edison chen

The head honchos (Edison Chen and Kybum Lee, also known as KB) of contemporary fashion label Emotionally Unavailable recently paid a visit to the newly opened Dover Street Market Singapore (DSMS) to commemorate the launch of their exclusive capsule collection. And yes, we were able to get up close and personal with the actor turned entrepreneur and former UNDFTD (Undefeated) designer where they shared their thoughts on their first ever collaboration with DSM and what drives their creative energy.

Why Dover Street Market (DSM) Singapore?

Kyubum Lee (KB): “Right now we want to do more retail partnerships and DSM is very respected in the fashion industry. We also have a very good relationship with the people here at DSM and they actually offered us this project for the opening of Dover Street Market Singapore but we couldn’t make it on time.”

Edison Chen (EC): “It’s (DSM) one of the best curators in the world and I think they have become a lot more youth oriented whereas before, they sold more runway pieces so I think we fit in because we are definitely not a street brand, neither are we a high fashion label. We call ourselves contemporary fashion and I think DSM is the best contemporary fashion store in the world right now.”

Plans for future collaborations

KB: “It’s top secret. We don’t want to spoil the surprise for people but yes, some big things will definitely happen in future. But at the same time, we are not always working with big names. We even made a t-shirt with an L.A club so we are very open to collaborations. It’s kinda like our personal project.”

EC: “I think Emotionally Unavailable (for both of us) is actually very artsy. It is a very art-inspired conversation we have with clothing so we’re looking at collaborating with different artists, real contemporary artists. We worked with Mr. Andre before and we’re going to be doing more capsule collections with other artists.”

Translating art to fashion

EC: “For me, and I’m pretty sure for KB too, hip-hop dominated the early stages of our life and now art is the dominant inspiration for us. We go to art museums, gallery shows, studio visits and that’s actually where we draw most of our creative energy from now. It’s a different perspective from hip-hop. It (hip-hop) is low, grimy and desperate while art is refined, “boujee” and classic. Obviously, we are not trying to be like “Oh, this shirt needs to be $500 cause it’s art”. There’s something deep about the art form that’s trying to speak to you and we are trying to deliver that message, which is why I have been pushing arts and culture so much in the past five years. I want the youth to not only be influenced by club life or just hip-hop rap lyrics. There has to be a moment where we break that and I feel art is that place.”

edison chen

Emotionally Unavailable (EU) versus Clot and Vlone

EC: “Clot is a very Asian-inspired street brand, Vlone is very rugged and rough. For EU, we are not on a calendar. I think that’s the most glaring thing for me. With a calendar, there’s stress and with stress comes rush. And sometimes when you rush something, it’s not so good and I’m not saying Vlone or Clot and all the other things I do aren’t good, it’s just that for EU, we can work on something and it can take two years and we are still fine with that. It’s very open and free. Obviously, with Clot, we still try to work with artists but everything we do with EU has a very direct message, every t-shirt has one specific message. Ultimately, I feel that all the brands are catered to everybody, there’s no definition.”

On using Renaissance art

EC:  “To me, something printed on a postcard is low and it devaluates the art piece. I feel like we are actually respecting the art. We are paying ode to the art and we are not trying to defile it. Instead, we are trying to push their art and help them promote it. I think that as lucky as I am to have a bunch of people look up to me and see what we are doing, I also want to give back to them, which is why I try to incorporate art into our work.”

How their personal style evolved

EC: “I wear women’s clothes now. I like to wear Acne’s women’s pieces and Celine, I love to look at some Chanel pieces and actually be able to wear them. My sense of fashion has been brought by being able to go to fashion shows and speaking to real designers and seeing that design and fashion are actually crafts. I used to help a brand called Hood By Air and they were definitely androgynous and it really opened my eyes. I think the world has become so much smaller and finding something that you can call your own is very important. I try to find deeper meaning in everything nowadays and for me, even being able to wear something that’s unique to myself makes me feel better and it makes me feel like I have an independent voice.”

KB: “Well, I started wearing bigger clothes because I gained weight. (Laughs) It’s true.”

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